Dental erosion occurs when you experience a chemical loss of enamel due to acids. Specifically, the acids that cause dental erosion are not related to poor oral health. This means that the acids that form in your mouth as a result of plaque are not the cause of this form of dental erosion. Typically, your diet or a reflux disorder causes dental erosion.
What Factors Cause Dental Erosion?
There are different factors in dental erosion.
Intrinsic factors are those that come from within the body. Generally, intrinsic factors for dental erosion are related to gastric acids. This means that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or frequent vomiting can significantly damage the teeth. Gastric acid can chemically break down the enamel over time. Occasionally acid reflux shouldn’t pose a problem for your teeth. However, a chronic condition like GERD can erode your enamel.
Additionally, frequent vomiting can also allow gastric acids to erode the enamel. For example, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where a person will self-induce vomiting in order to maintain a certain weight. While this condition is serious for multiple reasons, it can break down the enamel, increasing the chances of tooth decay.
In some cases, pregnancy can cause dental erosion. This is because women will experience high levels of nausea and vomiting due to hormonal fluctuations. However, this is not a common occurrence.
Extrinsic factors are those that come from outside the body. These can vary from diet, lifestyle, or environmental factors.
Many popular beverages contain high levels of acid that destroy the enamel. Frequently drinking sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks can slowly erode the enamel. Additionally, coffee and wine are heavily consumed beverages that can ruin your enamel. Sodas and soft drinks are at the top of the list of beverages that can contribute to dental erosion.
Some athletes may be at a higher risk for dental erosion due to a combination of consumption of sports drinks and dehydration or lack of saliva production. Low saliva production or “dry mouth” can also contribute to dental erosion.
Additionally, consuming too much vitamin C can damage your enamel as well. This could be in the form of fruits or vitamin C gummies.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Naturally, one of the most effective ways to treat dental erosion is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. However, this is not necessarily possible for everyone, especially those who have medical conditions that cause enamel erosion. While making changes in your diet can help, chronic conditions like GERD will need medical intervention.
One way that your dentist can help is to recommend tooth bonding or dental bonding. Tooth bonding is a type of composite resin that your dentist will place on your teeth. When they place the resin on your teeth, they will harden it using a special light. Once your dentist completes the process, the tooth bonding will act as a strengthened enamel. This will protect your teeth and prevent further erosion.